October 2006

(NPG) Newtonplayground 1.53 released

Better late then never, and so I finally got around finishing and releasing the new version of my Newtonplayground, namely version 1.53 (to accompany the version of NGD used in this NPG release).

If you have followed my blog over the last few days/weeks you’ll already know the biggest changes, namely support for skinned ragdolls and magnetic bodies. Other than that there were some bugfixes and I also changed the context user interface for objects from text based buttons to a graphical one (like the main UI).

Download it via the above link and if you have any problems, found some bugs or just have some questions about it, contact me via this blog or direclty in the support thread over at the newton forums.

And not to forget, the mandatory screenshots :

(NPG) Magnetic objects

Yesterday deep into the night I decided to give another feature I wanted to have in NPG for a long time a try and implemented it. This time it’s magnet objects, which cause magnetic forces applied to all bodies within their range. This makes up for some great stuff, as you can see in the following video (5 MBytes, WMV encoded).

The feature was simple to implement since I already had implemented springs a long time ago, and basically the only difference between a spring between two bodies and the magnetic force between two bodies is the calculation of the resulting force (which is actually very simple for a magnetic object). Right now (due to the fact that it was very late and I just wanted to see how and if it works) most stuff like constants and distance are hard-coded, but will later on be changeable by the user so that every magnetic object can have it’s own magnetic parameters.

(NPG) Final skinned ragdoll video

After finishing the implementation of the new skinned ragdoll-feature in NewtonPlayGround I just started to create some sample scenes for the final release. Throughout the last days I finished this feature (adding shadows, possibility to attach springs and joints and matierlas) and also tested it very hard to see if there were any problems or bugs left. And since everything works the way it should, and since I also finished the improvments to the spring implementation I had planed (you can now attach any kind of object to any other kind of object, which didn’t work on the last release) I’m preparing for the final release.

To “celebrate” this I also made a new video that shows the new feature in one of the new sample scenes. You’ll see a zombie (thanks to Psionic3D for this free model) falling down a “torture tunnel”. And just like in real-life it’s different eacht time you restart the scene, so in the following video you’ll see him fall down twice. Grab the video here, it’s ~10 MBytes and in WMV format.

Release for the next version of NPG is planned for middle or end of next week, so stay tuned!

(NPG) Preparing Newtonplayground 1.53

So after playing some newer games with my new rig (which runs like a charm), I started to do some coding again. And I decided to pause developement on PjW for one or two weaks so that I can finally finish up version 1.53 of the Newtonplayground.

This was something sitting on my neck for too long now, as I already stated in the newton forums that a new version of NPG was almost finished but somehow I always got distracted and just forgot about that. But not this time! This new release won’t bring a lot of features, and I mainly want to release it because newton has made some good steps since the lastly released NPG version (1.51). It’s more stable and a lot faster, so many of the samples that were slowing down with newton 1.51 now run smooth with 1.53.
But there will be one totally new feature to NPG : Skinned ragdolls. I finished this feature over the last two days and they’re now fully functional, you can also even attach springs and joints to them, which makes up for some interesting things to do. NPG uses the Milkshape fileformat for skinned ragdolls and sadly I was only able to find one model whose bones (after altering them by myself) are useable directly with newton, most of the models around the net have their bones made for animating rather than for physics and often have over twenty bones. So this feature is kind of limited, but not due to it’s implementation but rather availability of models on the net. Maybe for another version of the NPG I’ll also add other file formats to load the skinned ragdolls from.

And last but not least I also made a small video showing off the new skinned ragdolls in NPG. You can grab it here, it’s a 4 MByte WMV file.

Edit : Here is another video, it’s kind of a “poor” trampoline made with the spring feature of NPG and shows a skinned ragdoll falling down on it.